Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

A shortage of children in Japan

April 23, 2017

The challenges of population implosion will be quite different to the challenges of growing populations. Japan is facing most of these challenges earlier than the rest of the world, but what Japan faces in the next 50 years will also be faced in Europe in about 20 years, by China in 70 years and in India in about 100 years.

The challenges of an aging population are receiving much attention as the ratio of working population to supported population declines. But what receives less attention is the upheaval being caused in Japan by the sharp decline in the number of children.

From a peak of just under 30 million children (0-14 year olds) in 1955, the number has been declining. By 2050 there will be only about 10 million children in Japan. Rural schools are already being abandoned for lack of children. That in turn leads to long commutes for the children still living in rural areas. Commutes of 50km, each way, are not so rare.

QuartzMedia: About 5,800 public school buildings closed between 2002 and 2013, according to data from the Japan’s education ministry. By rights, many more schools should close for lack of students. But they remain in existence because no one can think of anything better to do with them. Of those that have closed, a few hundred have been demolished and about 1,500 schools were still on the books in 2014 in need of a new purpose, according to ministry data.

It is not just schools of course. Numbers of teachers, demands for teacher training places, school meals suppliers, uniform manufacturers and even school bus manufacturers are all facing shrinking demand. Demand for higher education places lag school places by about 15 years. Some Universities are reducing their entry requirements to fill the places they have.

Japan is among the first to face these challenges and how they cope is going to be watched with great interest.

That they will cope is not in doubt. But how they cope will provide many of the solutions that the rest of the world is going to need.



Population implosion after 2100?

March 19, 2017

One picture which is self-explanatory.

(from Our World in Data)

the rate of growth peaked in 1962 and has since been on the decline. The following visualization presents this comparison by superimposing the annual population growth rate over the total world population for the period 1750-2010, as well as projections up to 2100. In the projections you can see that by 2100, the growth rate is estimated to fall to 0.1%.

After 2100, population growth will be negative and it will be the population implosion that will be the challenge of those times.


Fertility rates increasing in Eastern Europe but still below replacement level in all European countries

March 9, 2017

Eurostat has released fertility statistics for 2015.

Birth rates in Eastern Europe countries, since 2001, are rising fastest, though from very low levels. Birth rate also increased strongly in Sweden over this period.

Overall fertility rates are well below the replacement level and immigration is necessary to prevent a population implosion and an unsustainable ratio for supported population/working population. Eastern Europe is most resistant to immigration and is particularly vulnerable. Even though fertility rates have risen significantly, they are still among the lowest in Europe.

The age of women having their first child is also increasing (29 years) but surprisingly, is highest in Italy and Spain (31 years).

In 2015, 5.103 million babies were born in the European Union (EU), compared with 5.063 million in 2001 (the first year comparable statistics are available).

Among Member States, France continued to record the highest number of births (799 700 in 2015), ahead of the United Kingdom (776 700), Germany (737 600), Italy (485 800), Spain (418 400) and Poland (369 300).

On average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2015 were aged nearly 29 (28.9 years). Across Member States, first time mothers were the youngest in Bulgaria and the oldest in Italy.

Overall, the total fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015. It varied between Member States from 1.31 in Portugal to 1.96 in France in 2015.

A total fertility rate of around 2.1 live births per woman is considered to be the replacement level in developed countries: in other words, the average number of live births per woman required to keep the population size constant without migration.

Total fertility rate below the replacement level of 2.1 in all Member States

In 2015, France (1.96) and Ireland (1.92) were the two Member State with total fertility rates closest to the replacement level of around 2.1. They were followed by Sweden (1.85) and the United Kingdom (1.80).

Conversely, the lowest fertility rates were observed in Portugal (1.31), Cyprus and Poland (both 1.32), Greece and Spain (both 1.33) as well as Italy (1.35).

In most Member States, the total fertility rate rose in 2015 compared with 2001. The largest increases were observed in Latvia (from 1.22 in 2001 to 1.70 in 2015, or +0.48), the Czech Republic (+0.42), Lithuania (+0.41), Slovenia (+0.36), Bulgaria (+0.32), Romania (+0.31), Sweden (+0.28) and Estonia (+0.26).

In contrast, the highest decreases were registered in Cyprus (-0.25), Luxembourg (-0.19) and Portugal (-0.14).

For the EU as a whole, the total fertility rate increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015 (+0.12).

First time mothers youngest in Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia, oldest in Italy and Spain.

In 2015, the mean age of women at birth of their first child stood at 27 or below in Bulgaria (26.0), Romania (26.3), Latvia (26.5) and Poland (27.0).

In contrast, this age was above 30 in Italy (30.8), Spain (30.7), Luxembourg and Greece (both 30.2).

Highest growth in number of births over last 15 years in Sweden, largest drop in Portugal.

In the EU, 40 217 more babies were born in 2015 than in 2001 (+0.8%). Across Member States, the largest relative increases were in Sweden (+25.6%), the Czech Republic (+22.1%), Slovenia (+18.1%) and the United Kingdom (+16.1%).

In contrast, the highest decrease was in Portugal (-24.2%), followed by the Netherlands (-15.8%), Denmark (-11.1%), Romania (-10.4%) and Greece (-10.2%).


Baby boomers 1, 2 and 3

February 27, 2017

There are really 3 groups of baby boomers who are apparent since 1900.

baby boomers

baby boomers

BB1 – 1919 – 1928 (after World War 1)

BB2 – 1937 -1972 (after Great depression + World War 2 + children of BB1)

BB3 – 1977 -1998 (Children of BB2)


Hans Rosling — RIP

February 7, 2017

Hans Rosling passed away today. He was born July 27, 1948 and was just 68.

He was, I think, to be compared with Richard Feynman for his ability to communicate difficult concepts to laypeople.


From Gapminder:

Sad to announce: Hans Rosling passed away this morning

We are extremely sad to announce that Professor Hans Rosling died this morning. Hans suffered from a pancreatic cancer which was diagnosed one year ago. He passed away early Tuesday morning, February 7, 2017, surrounded by his family in Uppsala, Sweden.

Eleven years ago, the three of us, Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling & Anna Rosling Rönnlund founded Gapminder. In 2007 Hans decided to “drop out” of university to work only 5% as professor at Karolinska Institute. That was a great decision. The 95% he worked for Gapminder made him a world famous public educator, or Edutainer as he liked to call it.

Across the world, millions of people use our tools and share our vision of a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand. We know that many will be saddened by this message. Hans is no longer alive, but he will always be with us and his dream of a fact-based worldview, we will never let die!

We kindly ask you to respect our need for privacy during this sad time of mourning. Gapminder will announce info about memorial plans later.

Stay updated on Gapminder’s twitter and facebook

— Anna R. Rönnlund & Ola Rosling, Co-founders of Gapminder

For more info, please contact Karolinska Institutet.


Sweden’s population will exceed 10 million today

January 20, 2017

The Swedish population will pass 10 million later today.

In 1969, 8 million people lived in Sweden. It took 35 years before the population passed 9 million in 2004. But only 13 years later, sometime in the first quarter of 2017, we will be more than 10 million inhabitants. Rapid growth will continue in the coming decades and we can be 12 million already by 2040.

The Swedish Central Bureau of Statistics has a population clock running on its website, and at 0700 on Friday 20th January 2017 reads:


Swedish population clock at 0700, 20170120

It should reach 10 million by around noon.

UPDATE: 10am, 20th January 2017:

20170120 1000

20170120 1000

The population increase in the last 50 years has been quite “healthy” and robust in demographic terms.

Sweden Population - SCB

Sweden Population – SCB

In Europe, Sweden has perhaps the most robust development of demographics with respect to the ratio of non-working (under 19 and over 65) to working population (20 -65). And that has been thanks, in spite of falling fertility rates, mainly to immigration and the slightly higher fertility rate among newcomers (though that comes down quickly to the prevailing rate). Currently around 17% of Sweden’s population was born outside Sweden. This will increase to be over 20% by 2040.

The Swedish pensions system is less under pressure than in Southern and Eastern Europe. Even Germany and France and the UK have a somewhat lower pensions risk because of net immigration. However in all these countries an increase of the regular pension age from 65 to 70 can be expected before 2040.


The average age of all humans alive is about 32 years (and increasing)

December 23, 2016

The average age (mean not median) is about 32 years in 2016 and is increasing by about 1 month every year ( about 1 year per decade). It will be almost 42 years by 2100.

graphic by The Economist

graphic by The Economist

The median age (50% of population greater than this age) is 30.1 years in 2016 (male: 29.4 years,
female: 30.9 years). The median age is growing just a little faster than the average age as global fertility declines and will be about 37 by 2050.

graphic by Pew Research

graphic by Pew Research


Population implosion has started

February 26, 2016

The 1960s and 70s was a period when the alarmists reigned supreme. It was the time of The Limits to Growth, peak-oil, peak-food, peak-resources, peak-water and the coming doom of the earth. Not one of their catastrophe scenarios has come to pass or shows any signs of coming to pass. The fear-mongering by alarmists about the catastrophic effects of the population explosion has been one of the most shameful examples of the prostitution of science by individual academics (like Paul Ehrlich) and cowardly institutions looking for sensational copy.

The fear-mongering of the 1960s and 1970s has continued through the 80s and 90s and beyond, but now about climate and bio-diversity and mass extinction and the ozone-hole and GM crops. These catastrophe scenarios will also gradually die out as it becomes apparent that they are just the ravings of those who make a living out of spreading alarm. The alarms are unjustifiable, but untestable, and each tends to take about 3 decades to burn itself out.

Paul Ehrlich in his The Population Bomb of 1968: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate …”

Within 50 years the world will be dealing with the challenges posed by the consequences of an ongoing population implosion in developed parts of the world (which will then include India and China) and the total world population will be in decline by 2100. The cold, relentless hand of demographics is inexorable and the decline is already visible in many countries.

Fastest shrinking countries WEF

Fastest shrinking countries WEF

The future decline in Japan’s population has been recognised as inevitable for over 20 years and social engineering has not succeeded in reversing the inevitable. Now Japan has entered negative territory for the first time since the 1920s — entirely as expected.

Japan poulation decline - Asahi Shimbun

Japan population decline – Asahi Shimbun

In due course the fear-mongers will moan about the coming death of the species due to the population implosion, but this too shall pass. After about 100 years of a slow population decline I expect we shall see a new equilibrium for population and birth-rate, where longevity, fertility measures, incentives and a bright new world of genetic screening will be part of the mix.

By 2200, a form of non-coercive eugenics will no longer be a dirty word, but will instead seem eminently common-sensical.



When the population implosion threatens …..

October 6, 2015

By 2050, virtually all parts of the world, except some parts of Africa, will be witnessing a decline in population. Until then, migrations of peoples will serve to maintain the ratio of productive to “non-productive” people. (By then, the non-productive will probably be defined as those under 20 and those over about 70). But going forward, migration from declining source populations will no longer be able to provide even a temporary solution.

The fundamental decline in fertility rates will be a consequence of the widespread acceptance of women’s rights, the increasing liberation of women in Asia and Africa, and the ready availability of contraception and abortion. Increasing longevity will mitigate population decline to some extent but will exacerbate the declining ratio of productive/unproductive population. The threat will be of an accelerating decline. Alarmism will no longer be about “population explosions” but about the coming “population implosion”. The decline of rural populations will threaten food supplies, though mitigated by increasing automations and genetically modified crops. Growth will be limited, not so much by capital or raw materials, but by the availability of personnel. In developed countries, tax revenues will stagnate or begin to decline.

Sustainable communities, somewhat smaller than the current nation states, will start husbanding their people resources and their (local) tax revenues. “National” programs – health, education and even infrastructure – will increasingly shift to be “local”. The immigration issue of the day will be about preventing any influx of non-productive peoples. Incentives will be offered to attract productive businesses and people. Some isolated areas already below critical populations or population-mixes, which survive only on subsidies, will be “abandoned” financially. That will, in turn, shift people to areas which exceed the critical mass for the provision of welfare and other services. Successful communities will be those which attract productive people and provision of local jobs, education and health services will be the competitive factors. Education services provided will be linked to performance. Health services to be provided for any individual will be judged by the cost of the service against the benefit of the individual’s remaining productive life. Health services for the elderly will gradually be removed from welfare services and will all have to be purchased. Assisted deaths for the elderly will be as readily available as abortions.

The globalisation paradigm which would have been in effect for a century will shift to a new “localisation” meme.

As power to raise revenues is devolved increasingly to smaller, sustainable communities, “national” defense budgets will be slashed. Expansionism will no longer make any sense. Conflicts may still occur over resources (water, rare metals, rare earths ….) but will decline as population declines. Virtually every local government will then be engaged in trying to increase fertility rates. Tax breaks and extra payments will be available for every child. “Political correctness” will shift to the having of many children. But all these measures will not have much effect in increasing fertility rates.

Surrogacy will pay very well until the artificial womb is developed. That will be the game changer. Then community governments will move to control artificial fertilisation from donor sperm and eggs. The birth of children will move into the “public” sphere. Genetic scanning will be increasingly used prior to allowing a foetus to develop in an artificial womb. Humans will then only be required to supply their sperm or their eggs. They will no longer be required to perform as parents. Mating will no longer be an activity connected to the production of children. The children will be brought up in community creches. The fertility rate will become a completely controllable parameter. Eventually, so will the genetic make up of the children being produced. Some will have their genes tailored to meet some specific community need. Others will be mass-produced when “drones” are required in large numbers. The most powerful committee in any community will then be that which chooses which egg will be fertilised by which sperm.

It is population decline which will lead inevitably and remorselessly to the Brave New World.

Europe’s refugees just follow the ancient routes for the peopling of Europe in the Neolithic

September 17, 2015

Compared to the population of Europe of 740 million (500 million in the EU), the total refugee numbers of some 400,000 are not large enough to talk about “invasions” or being “over-run”. (In the short-term numbers may, of course, be locally overwhelming). But the routes being travelled now are the same routes that were used for the peopling of Europe in the neolithic. Neanderthals probably retreated westwards as the hunter gatherers from central Asia arrived. They had been absorbed and were long gone as a separate “race” by the time the 2 main agricultural waves arrived.

And now the refugee numbers are beginning to be large enough to be a not insignificant impact on the populations of Europe. It could well be a new “peopling of Europe”. Or it could turn out to be not so large or important. But history will probably show that the migrations of peoples into Europe in the early 22nd century was of similar importance to the neolithic migrations. History will probably show that this  migration is what stemmed the downward population spiral that was troubling Europe.

In ancient times –

First came the movement of peoples westwards into Europe. This was during the paleolithic some 40,000 – 20,000 years ago with hunter-gatherers coming from the east. The “admixture” events between the Neanderthals and modern humans could have been along the westward moving front.

Then came the advent of agriculture, starting earlier but in earnest perhaps about 10,000 years ago. Genetic evidence indicates 2 waves of farmers from the east who then mixed with the hunter-gatherers already there.

So it would seem that hunter-gatherers mixed with farmers from the east who spread across Europe about 9,000 years ago. They formed the first agricultural settlements. Then came the invasion of the nomadic Yamnaya culture around 5,000 years ago. The Yamnayans were much more individualistic than the peoples they replaced and gave rise to the prominence of the nuclear family and the development of large family holdings of cleared lands, rather than the clusters of people in village settlements. They came on horses and brought livestock. But by about 4,000 years ago they too were overrun by the warlike Sintashta.

peopling of europe in the neolithic - via daily mail

peopling of europe in the neolithic – via daily mail

and now the current refugee crisis has about 400,000 people moving north westwards –

Business InsiderAccording to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), EU countries received 437,384 asylum applications from January to July. The UNHRC also reports that during that time, Germany was by far the country that received the most asylum applications, with 188,486. Hungary came second in place with 65,415 applications, and Sweden took third with 33,234 applications. Italy was fourth with 30,223, and France was fifth with 29,832 demands. Many refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and ISIS have been entering the European Union through Greece — 258,365 refugees entered Greece by boat so far this year — after going through Turkey.

europe's refugee crisis - business insider graphics

europe’s refugee crisis – business insider graphics

Nothing new under the sun.

%d bloggers like this: